Abdias Nascimento,
Abdias Nascimento, "Eternidade", 1972. Collection Museum of Black Art - IPEAFRO.

On the tenth anniversary of the death of the plastic artist, actor, director, writer and playwright Abdias Nascimento, Inhotim and the IPEAFRO (Instituto de Pesquisas e Estudos Afro-Brasileiros), an institution founded by Abdias and which cares for his legacy, honor him with a long-term action, the Museum of Black Art (MAN), open from December 4, 2021 until the end of 2023. Headquartered within the mining museum – located in Brumadinho – for the period described, MAN was originally conceived by the Teatro Experimental do Negro under the leadership of Abdias in the early 1950s. , school or aesthetic trend, thus promoting the documentation of their creativity”, as explained by Abdias in an interview for Correio da Manhã.

"Nocturnal Invocation to the Poet Gerardo Mello Mourão: Oxóssi" (1972). Courtesy Inhotim.
“Nocturnal Invocation to the Poet Gerardo Mello Mourão: Oxóssi” (1972). Courtesy Inhotim.

The exhibition will be divided into four acts, each lasting about five months. The first, shown from December 4, brings the dialogue between the work of Abdias, Tunga and the MAN collection in a space that refers to the origins of Inhotim: the Mata Gallery, located next to the True Rouge Gallery, one of the first of the institution and which permanently exhibits the homonymous installation of Tunga. His father, Gerardo Mello Mourão, was a poet who participated, in the 1930s, in the Santa Hermandad Orquídea alongside Abdias and other writers. It was even Gerardo who nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize for the first time, in 1978 – Abdias would be nominated again, in 2004, by civil society and Brazilian authorities and, officially, in 2009. So, since he was little, Tunga already lived together with the artist and was influenced by his work.

Among the approximately 90 works that will be presented are the painting painted by Tunga in 1967, at the age of 15, for the MAN collection; Night Invocation to the Poet Gerardo Mello Mourão: Ochosi (1972), a painting by Abdias in homage to his friend Gerardo and to the memory of the poets of Santa Hermandad Orquídea; eea installation Condensed torus; Expanded torus (1983-2012).

Tunga, "Toro Condensed, 1983; Toro Expanded", 2012. Photo: Daniel Mansur.
Tunga, “Toro Condensed, 1983; Toro Expanded”, 2012. Photo: Daniel Mansur.
On the idealization of the Museum of Black Art

Since the 1940s, Abdias Nascimento and his companions from the Teatro Experimental do Negro (TEN) worked with the proposal of socially valuing black people through art and education. By outlining a new aesthetic and dramaturgical style, TEN laid the foundations for the foundation of the Museum of Black Art. It was the TEN that, in 1950, in Rio de Janeiro, organized the 1st Congress of the Brazilian Negro, whose plenary session approved a resolution on the need for a museum of black art. The project was taken over by the group and thus MAN was born. 

“At that time, the representation of black people in traditional museums appeared in the background and, for the most part, mediated by the gaze of white people. Thus, it was necessary to break with this representational system and make the richness of black culture in the field of art visible to the world”, explains Deri Andrade, assistant curator at Inhotim and researcher at Projeto Afro.

The inaugural exhibition of the Museu de Arte Negra collection was held on May 6, 1968, at the Museu da Imagem e do Som, in Rio de Janeiro. After the opening, Abdias won a cultural exchange scholarship to the United States. With the promulgation of Institutional Act 5, in December 1968, during the harshest phase of the civil-military dictatorship, Abdias found himself prevented from returning to the country. 

“This misfortune was an obstacle to Abdias' return to Brazil. It limited the activities of the Museu de Arte Negra, but not those of the artist, who continued producing and collecting works during his exile”, comments Elisa Larkin Nascimento, widow of Abdias Nascimento and co-founder of IPEAFRO. “Therefore, currently, a profusion of national and international artists are part of the MAN-IPEAFRO collection, contributing to the enrichment of curatorial narratives about black artistic production”, she adds.

Hours

Inhotim is open from Thursday to Sunday and on holidays, with capacity for a thousand visitors per day. Admission is free on every last Friday of the month, except on holidays, with the same audience limit. The purchase and collection of tickets is carried out exclusively online and in advance by  Sympla. Due to health protocols, it is worth remembering that the sale of tickets is not being carried out at the museum's ticket office. 

The mandatory use of a mask, by employees and visitors, alcohol gel displays distributed throughout the park and distance between tables at food points are still in effect.  

All guidelines on ticket purchase, the protocols adopted and visitation rules are available at institution website.

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